The area around Livingston was previously an important shale oil area, the world's first oil boom occurred in West Lothian. This was based on oil extracted from shale, and by 1870 over 3 million tons of shale were being mined each year in the area around Livingston. Output declined with the discovery of liquid oil reserves around the world in the early 1900s, but shale mining only finally ceased in 1962. The "bings" that characterise oil shale mining in West Lothian have largely been flattened.
In 1898 Livingston had several houses, a Church of Scotland church, a United Free church and a school. Around 1 mile north of Livingston there was a railway station in a settlement called Livingston Station which is now part of Deans.
The old part of Livingston is now called Livingston Village.
Livingston was built as part of the New Towns Act of 1946, in part to ease overcrowding in Glasgow. Livingston was the fourth new town of five. The others were East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Irvine. Livingston was designated as a New Town on 16 April 1962. The first people moved into Livingston in April 1966.
Three villages (Livingston Village and Livingston Station in the old parish of Livingston and Bellsquarry in the parish of Mid Calder) and numerous farmsteads remain islands of old buildings within the new developments.
In 1984 Livingston gained its first railway station on the Shotts Line called Livingston South which was followed by Livingston North on the Edinburgh to Bathgate Line in 1986. These stations replaced the former Livingston and Newpark stations which had closed before the construction of the town.
In 1995 Livingston gained its professional football team, Livingston F.C. which was essentially the relocation of Meadowbank Thistle F.C. from Edinburgh.
In order to build, manage and promote Livingston a quango organisation was formed, the Livingston Development Corporation.
The corporation guided Livingston until its mandate expired on 22 March 1997 and the town was transferred to West Lothian Council. The last major construction operation carried out by the LDC was the Almondvale Stadium, which was to become the home to the renamed Livingston F.C. A new purpose built campus for West Lothian College and other major developments have also taken place in Livingston over the last 10 years.
Construction in Livingston has continued under the management of West Lothian Council.
In 1979, an employee of the LDC claimed he was knocked unconscious after an alleged conflict with activities from a UFO. Robert Taylor, who was in his sixties at this point in time, was working as a Forester for Livingston Development Corporation near Dechmont Law when the supposed incident took place. The incident was reported to the police, but nearly 40 years after taking place, the incident has never been resolved. It remains one of the UK's most notable claimed UFO sightings.
Livingston is the 7th largest settlement and the 3rd largest town in Scotland, it is also the 171st largest settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies 30 miles away from Glasgow and 15 miles from Edinburgh.
The districts which make up Livingston include:Craigshill
Kirkton (including Livingston Village)
The area where Livingston now sits was historically dominated by oil shale mining, which is evident from the bings which still exist on much of the surrounding landscape. The designation of Livingston in the 1960s attracted new light industries to the area, with high technology and pharmaceutical companies moving into the town. Livingston formed a major hub in Scotland's Silicon Glen. Like most other areas this went into a slow decline with the closures of companies including Motorola and NEC. Several multi-national companies still have factories in the town. Sky UK is the largest private sector employer in West Lothian with a range of offices and contact centres. Other large employers include those in the retail sector and in the health care sector the National Health Service, Q Squared Solutions and Quintiles IMS.Witherby Seamanship, established in 1740, is one of the oldest publishers in the United Kingdom. Their offices and warehouse is located in Livingston.
Livingston town centre sits on the southern edge of the Almond Valley. It is bounded by a ring road and has been purposely planned, distinguishing it from West Lothian's other town centres. Howden Park is located immediately north of the town centre.
Livingston is the sub-regional centre serving West Lothian. It features one of the largest indoor shopping and leisure complexes in Scotland, The Centre (formerly Almondvale Shopping Centre) and the Livingston Designer Outlet (formerly McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre).
The Centre was completed in its current guise on 16 October 2008. The total development has around 155 shops and eating establishments. The Centre has a winter garden, an outdoor restaurant area, and several famous shopping names.
The designer outlet mall, Livingston Designer Outlet, contains a VUE multiplex cinema, a food court with many chain fast food outlets, bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as around 100 popular outlet stores.
Livingston town centre has an abundance of car parking. The south western edge of the town centre is dominated by retail parks. These contain a number of well known retailers such as Pets at Home, Toys 'R' Us, PC World & Currys as well as fast food outlets like KFC and Frankie & Benny's.
There is also a large B&Q in the south-west of the town centre as well as a large Morrisons supermarket. The Homebase store closed in July 2010 and Argos moved across the road. The former Homebase and Argos stores were converted into a large Sainsburys supermarket that opened in December 2010. Also in the town centre are food stores such as Aldi and Lidl which is located beside the Almondvale Stadium.
Livingston's town centre also contains a large number of offices. Private sector offices are also concentrated at the eastern and western edges of the centre and along the Almondvale Boulevard. Other facilities in the centre include hotels, a swimming pool and local authority gym, restaurants, pubs and a club called GQHQ (formerly Club Earth). Almondvale Football Stadium and West Lothian College are located at the north western edge of the town centre..
The Livingston Civic Centre was completed in June 2009 and officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond on 25 November 2009. The Civic Centre is located just north of The Centre on the bank of the river Almond. It is home to the divisional headquarters of Lothian and Borders Police, as well as the sheriff and justice of the peace, West Lothian Council, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service and the West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership.
Neighbourhood Shopping Centres are located at strategic points around the town. The first of these to be built was The Mall at Craigshill. This was followed by the Carmondean Centre in Deans and groupings of shops in Ladywell and Murieston..
There was a bus station just outside the designer outlet centre but was shut down some years ago, it was quite run down.
Livingston has three major shopping centres, and another three medium large retail parks and a cluster of small local stores located throughout the different areas.
The first phase of the Livingston's shopping centres was completed in 1976 to facilitate the needs of the local residents and workers The Centre at this time was called the "Livingston Centre". The first major refurbishment was completed in 1988 by Land Securities. The centre was extended by 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) in 1996, creating phase 2 of the already very successful development, bringing the size of the centre to over 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2). It then became known as "The Almondvale Centre"
In early 1999, construction started on phase 3 of the development with the construction of McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Centre, (now renamed to Livingston Designer Outlet in 2007) and was opened in October 2000, with other work continuing into 2001. This development opened up over 80 new shops, 20 bars and restaurants, a fitness Suite, 4,000 new car parking spaces and an 8 screen Vue Cinemas cinema complex. In early 2007, another 15 shops were constructed within the centre replacing the "At home" area. Many businesses within this unit never re-opened in a new single unit. During this time, Asda constructed a new supercentre at the other end of the shopping centre in place of the old Woolco store (which had also been used as a Gateway hypermarket before Asda acquired the store in late 1989). This Asda supercentre is one of the largest Asda stores in Scotland, along with the Edinburgh and Bridge of Dee, Aberdeen supercentres.
Phase 4 of the development started in March 2007 which saw the old Safeway, (which had been closed since Morrisons built their new store in October 2005) demolished along with its car park. The car park between Almondvale Shopping Centre and the Designer Outlet was also removed. In its place, the new development was constructed until its opening in October 2008. Phase 4 was originally intended to be called 'The Elements', however Land Securities changed the name of it and the older centre to 'the centre' in time for the new centre being complete in October 2008.
The centre contains 35 shop units, with Marks & Spencer and Debenhams as anchor stores. Within this development, there will be socialising areas, bars, restaurants and a Winter Garden, bringing the Almondvale Centre Development to over a million sq. ft. The old Safeway carpark has been developed into a 3-storey car park providing another free 1500 spaces, with a state-of-the-art security system.
Livingston now has over 250 different retail units within Almondvale, including Debenhams, Next, Marks & Spencer, H&M, River Island, Waterstones, Asda Supercentre, Chiquito, Wetherspoons, ASK, Wagamama, McDonald's, BHS, Game, HMV, Sony Centre, Panasonic Store, Argos, Thorntons and Pizza Hut.
For more information including old pictures and history of the centre visit Livingstoni Online Community Website
Livingston has excellent connections to the central Scotland road network. The M8 bounds Livingston in the north. The A899 dual carriageway spine road passes north south along Livingston's eastern edge and connects the M8 in the north to the A71 in the south and has the A89 to the west.
Livingston has a central bus terminal located on Almondvale Avenue between the two shopping centres in the town centre. This provides regular services to surrounding towns and villages. First Scotland East are the main bus operator in Livingston, other operators include E&M Horsburgh, Blue Bus, SD Travel and Stagecoach. Livingston has buses to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Lanark, Fife, Falkirk and most West Lothian towns and villages. There are 7 stances at the bus terminal.
Livingston has an excellent 'core path network' which is shared use, and available to pedestrians, and cyclists. It connects all of the main areas of the town with shopping, and work areas. It is for the most part 'off road', and uses an extensive network of under/over pass systems to keep pedestrians and cyclists away from motorised traffic.
Livingston has three railway stations; Livingston North, Livingston South and Uphall Station. Livingston North is located adjacent to the Carmondean Shopping Centre between Eliburn and Deans and is on the North Clyde Line and with the completion of the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link, on 12 December 2010 Livingston North is now served by trains running to Glasgow Queen Street and Airdrie. Livingston South is located at the Murieston Shops and is on the Shotts Line and has trains running between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts.
Livingston is 6.9 miles (11.1 km) west of Edinburgh Airport and 35.5 miles (57.1 km) miles east of Glasgow Airport both of which have regular flights to British and international destinations.
The local newspaper covering Livingston is the West Lothian Courier. There was previously a Livingston Post newspaper which was stopped in the early 1990s. There was also a newspaper called West Lothian Herald & Post but that ceased to print in July 2011. DEDRIDGE GRAPEVINE is a voluntary community magazine, 3,000 copies per month, delivered free of charge to each house in Dedridge, run and edited by Kathleen Ross-Hale since 1976.
Livingston previously had its own Radio Station called River FM that was broadcast from the Almondvale Stadium. River FM broadcast from 1 September 2003 until it was shut down on 29 January 2007. Current local radio includes the local BBC station BBC Radio station is BBC Radio Scotland and Local Commercial radio includes Capital Scotland and 97.3 Forth One. Livingston also has a Hospital Radio station called Radio Grapevine which broadcasts to St John's Hospital.
Livingston is covered by the BBC Scotland and STV Central regions.
Livingston is considered a Labour/SNP marginal seat and is often used as an election battleground. Another party in the town is Action to Save St John's Hospital which is a Single issue party whose main campaign is to protect St John's Hospital.
Livingston is the administrative centre of West Lothian. Within West Lothian, Livingston is covered by three multi-member wards each electing four councillors. They are Livingston North, Livingston South and East Livingston and East Calder wards. Both Livingston South and East Livingston and East Calder have two SNP and two Labour councillors. Livingston North ward has two SNP, one Labour and one Action to Save St John's Hospital. Many of the responsibilities of West Lothian Council were previously the responsibility of the Livingston Development Corporation.
Livingston is in the Almond Valley constituency for the Scottish Parliament, and the Member of the Scottish Parliament is Angela Constance of the Scottish National Party. Livingston is also covered by the Lothian electoral region which gives the area seven additional MSPs.
West Lothian voted "Yes" by a margin of 79.6% to 20.4% in the Scottish devolution referendum, 1997. Livingston was given a constituency of the same name for the 1999 Scottish Parliament Election. The First MSP elected for Livingston was the Labour Bristow Muldoon who was re-elected for 2003 Scottish Parliament Election with a majority of 3,670. For the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election the SNP took the seat with a majority of 870 and Angela Constance. For the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election the seat was re-drawn and renamed Almond Valley and Angela Constance was again re-elected this time with a majority of 5,542.
Livingston has its own constituency in the House of Commons ;Livingston, and is represented by the Scottish National Party Member of Parliament Hannah Bardell.
Livingston for the majority of its existence has returned Labour MPs since the town was founded in 1962. However, in the election of 2015, the constituency voted in Hannah Bardell of the SNP as their member for Parliament.
For the 1983 General Election Livingston gained its own constituency at Westminster. The first MP elected for Livingston was Robin Cook who held the seat for six consecutive elections and held many government positions most notably Foreign Secretary between 1997 and 2001. In 2005 Robin Cook suddenly died of a heart attack and a By-election was called and won by the Labour Jim Devine. Devine was deselected in 2009 after being caught up in the 2009 expenses scandal. The current Member of Parliament for Livingston is Hannah Bardell of the SNP who won the seat in the 2015 General Election
Livingston is part of the Scotland European Parliament constituency and is represented by six MEPs, The nearest ones to Livingston are Alyn Smith (SNP), Struan Stevenson (Conservative) who are both based in Edinburgh and David Martin (Labour) who is based in Roslin.
Livingston used to be part of the Lothians European Parliament constituency.
West Lothian has a formal structure for engaging with young people and including them in the decision making process. The West Lothian Youth congress is a constituted group of young people between the ages of 12 and 26. It includes two democratically elected representatives from each of West Lothian’s High schools as well as young people representing youth/ specific interest groups, community councils or local areas from across West Lothian. The Youth Congress meets on a Tuesday evening every 4 to 6 weeks in the Council chambers of the West Lothian civic centre between 7pm and 9pm. The Congress is a full community planning partner and played an integral role in developing West Lothian’s 2010 community plan.
The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP)
West Lothian’s MSYPs are:Bankton Primary School
Bellsquarry Primary School
Carmondean Primary School
Deans Primary School
Dedridge Primary School
Harrysmuir Primary School
Knightsridge Primary School
Letham Primary School
Livingston Village Primary School
Mid Calder Primary School
Meldrum Primary School
Peel Primary School
Riverside Primary School
Toronto Primary School
Howden St. Andrews RC Primary School
St John Ogilvie RC Primary School
St. Ninian's RC Primary School
Williamston Primary School
Ogilvie School Campus
Beatlie School Campus
Autism resource classes at Dedridge Primary School
Inveralmond Community High School
The James Young High School
St. Margaret's RC Academy
Deans Community High School
West Lothian College of Further Education
Livingston has three public libraries:Almondbank Library, Craigshill
Lanthorn Library, Dedridge
Carmondean Library, Carmondean
The Scotland Japanese School (スコットランド日本語補習授業校 Sukottorando Nihongo Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a weekend Japanese school, is held at St. Margaret's Academy in Livingston. It first opened in 1982 and moved to Livingston in April 2003.
Livingston is part of the NHS Lothian region in NHS Scotland. Livingston previously had a psychiatric hospital with general hospital in the Dechmont area of the town called Bangour Village Hospital, The hospital opened in 1904, and started closing in the 1990s. It closed completely in 2004 after the remaining services were transferred to St John's Hospital.
Livingston has a large hospital called St John's Hospital in the Howden. The hospital has its own Accident and Emergency and has 550 beds and opened in 1989.
Livingston has its own Air Training Corps squadron, 2535 (Livingston) Squadron (located in Craigshill) and Army Cadet Force unit (based at Dedridge). The town also has Cubs, Scouts, Boys Brigade, Brownies and Guides units, and other organisations such as LGBT Youth Scotland and the Youth Action Project (WLYAP), and Firefly Youth Theatre (formerly West Lothian Youth Theatre) also operate in the area.
The youth action project involves a music session and many gigs and is widely attended by many teenagers from the surrounding area.
A leisure swimming pool and a Multiplex cinema are located in the town centre.
The Livingston Skatepark opened in 1981, at a time when most commercial skateparks were closing and was one of the most important facilities in Britain during a critical period in the development of skateboarding. It is an example of a free, unsupervised facility which achieved international status.
The town has a local cricket club, Livingston Cricket Club, a rugby union club, Livingston Rugby Football Club, a professional football club, Livingston F.C., and a junior football club, Livingston United.
Livingston is also home to; two competitive swimming clubs, the Livingston & District Dolphins and the Aquanauts of Livingston; Livingston and West Lothian Hockey Club, which has several men's and women's teams and provides junior coaching; West Lothian Wolves Basketball Club, with men and women's teams at all age groups and two track and field athletics clubs Livingston & District AAC, and Lothian RC.
Livingston F.C., known to locals as "Livi" or "The Lions", are the most notable football team in the town. They were formed in 1995 on the relocation of Edinburgh-based side Meadowbank Thistle. The stadium opened in November 1995, but the Livingston name had already been adopted some months earlier when the club was still playing at its former home Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh.
Although they were playing in the Scottish Third Division in their first season in Livingston, six years later the club was promoted to the Scottish Premier League, finished third in their first season and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
Relegation to the Scottish First Division in 2006 came after the club entered administration in 2004 as well as other financial problems. In 2009 they narrowly avoided going out of business and as a result were placed back in the Third Division.
The Lions managed to gain promotion to the Scottish Second Division the following year, and returned to the First Division after back to back league championships, on 6 August 2011. They currently compete in the third tier of Scottish Football
Livingston also has a cricket club known as the Kingfishers which fields teams for juniors and seniors and has fielded professional paid players. The club plays in the East of Scotland Cricket Association and is based in Murieston.
Livingston Cricket Club was founded in 1981 by Dr Salem Patel and Doug Druce, playing its first match in August of that year in Armadale. The club joined the East League for the 1982 season, winning Grade D and promotion .
In 1983 the club came second to Kirkcaldy’s 2nd XI in Grade C which was enough to win election to Division 4 following league reconstruction. Home games that season were played at Bankton Mains in Murieston. The changing facilities were a wooden Wimpey hut which was eventually flame-grilled by local vandals at the second attempt.
With no changing facilities for 1984 all matches had to be played away from home while renovations took place at Bangour Hospital sports field to enable cricket to be played there for the first time since the 1950s.
The club remained at Bangour from 1985 to the end of the 1998 season.
By 1985 the increasing number of players enabled the club to start a 2nd XI which joined Grade D of the East League. The 1st XI remained in Division 4 until winning the league in 1992.
In 1994 sponsorship by the Livingston Development Corporation enabled the club to successfully negotiate the big step up to Division 2 where half of the clubs employed paid professional players. West Indian Mark Harper became the club’s first paid player and regularly set new batting records throughout the season. The creation of the National leagues in 1996 and the subsequent re-organisation of feeder leagues saw Livingston become a Division 1 club due to reconstruction of the East League. In 1999 we finished third, our highest league position to date. This coincided with a move back into Livingston to a large new ground in the Murieston area. Temporary pavilion facilities and the recent run of wet summers added to the fact that the ground is over 500 ft above sea level mean that Dresselrigg has yet to realise its full potential. Being almost in the foothills of the Pentlands, rainfall is heavier and the growing season considerably shorter than most of the other grounds in the Central Belt which causes major problems in getting the ground ready for play in April.
From May 2002 to August 2004 a concerted effort was made to source funding and construct a permanent pavilion. The Gerry Toms Pavilion was officially opened on 22 August 2004.
Uniquely in Scotland, Livingston was from its formation designated an "Ecumenical Parish" in a joint initiative by the Church of Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Methodist Church in Great Britain and the Congregational Union of Scotland (which subsequently united with the United Reformed Church). The Ecumenical Parish has six places of worship.
Apart from the Ecumenical Parish, Livingston Old Parish is a congregation solely within the Church of Scotland. There are also churches of other denominations, notably the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church (who have two congregations in Dedridge and Ladywell), Jehovah's Witnesses (who have two congregations: Livingston Deans and Livingston Dedridge) and the Free Church.
In Livingston there are three Catholic Churches. Saint Peters, in Carmondean, Saint Andrews in Craigshill, and St Philips in Dedridge.
There is a mosque in the Craigshill area of the town called Livingston Mosque and Community Centre and also another within the Deans area.Scott Arfield footballer for Burnley.
Craig Benson Olympic swimmer and World junior men's breaststroke champion, born and educated in Livingston.
Mark Burchill footballer, Educated in Livingston.
Elise Christie short track skater, competed at 2010 Winter Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics.
David Cicero singer/keyboardist and protégé of the Pet Shop Boys moved to Livingston as a child.
Ian Colquhoun Author, born and educated in Livingston.
Robin Cook MP for Livingston died in 2005.
Paul Dickov former Arsenal player, now manager of Doncaster Rovers
Paul di Resta DTM driver and Formula One Driver from 2010 to 2013.
David Robertson footballer, Dundee Utd.
Jimmy Scoular former Portsmouth FC and Newcastle Utd football player and Cardiff City manager.
Gary Wales former Hearts player, and Kilmarnock.
Tommy Walker former Hearts and Chelsea player and the most successful Hearts manager.
Keith Watson currently playing for St Johnston, previously of Dundee United, Hibs and St Mirren
Danny Wilson Rangers player and formerLiverpool player
Peter Wright darts player
Livingston is twinned with: Hochsauerlandkreis, Germany.